Monday, December 5, 2011

Dev Anand, A Tongue-In-Check Tribute

Circa  : 1974
Place : Bombay
Cast   : A 12 year old Me wearing strechlon blue checked bell-bottom trousers, a same-age friend (F) and his older brother (OB), and another friend of the older brother (FOB). 
Scene  : F & me run into OB & FOB.

OB & FOB : ROFLing
F & Me : Why are you ROFLing ?
OB : Look at your pants
Me : Nothing to laugh at, they almost match Dev Anand's in Amir Garib. He is my favorite hero.
FOB : Dev Anand !!! He is over 50 years old.
Me : NO !!!! (At that age, 50 belongs with the dinosaurs)
OB : You know nothing, you just came from Poona. He also wears a wig.
Me : NO !!!!, But he looks so young.
FOB : He got a face-lift.
Me : (Not sure what a face-lift is, but almost certain it is not flattering.) So what ?
FOB : (Guessing I had no clue) That means plastic surgery, do you know what that is?
Me : (trying to salvage my dignity, but crestfallen) Of course I do.

Much later I realized I need not have taken it to heart, because this would not have fazed Dev Anand. He was supremely secure in who he was, and what he wanted to do, and no amount of criticism (legitimate or otherwise) seemed to bother him. At Johannesburg in April 2003, while receiving one of his numerous awards, he remarked that he will continue to make films even though he knew that most people "criticized & ridiculed him for doing so".

In today's internet world, Dev Anand's death was reported by several global media outlets including, New York Times, Reuters, BBC, CBS, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Guardian,  UAE Times, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, CNN and the Wall Street Journal. Indian media outlets had extensive coverage; with reactions from most Bollywood insiders. Rishi Kapoor called him the "Badshah of Style"; and in that sentiment I present ten songs filmed with him wearing a checked article of clothing. Obviously one of the inspirations is my own experience from many years ago. Readers are advised to submit their own songs that shed light upon his fashion style.

10) Ladies & Gentlemen --- Amir Garib
You are a real hardcore Dev Anand fan if you like these trousers. And to those who do not like them, I refer to his Johannesburg speech :). Nevertheless, a nice song, Kishore & Laxmikant Pyarelal bail him out.

9) Kanchi Re Kanchi --- Hare Rama Hare Krishna
A great song from a cult movie, Dev Anand's best directorial effort.  He wears subdued checked trousers that could find favor even today, but I dare you to wear that orange shirt.

8) Ankhon Ankhon Mein Hum Tum --- Mahal
We have Dev Anand & heroine Asha Parekh in checked outfits, his is a jacket, hers is I think a blanket. If I remember correctly, Asha got drenched and is trying to dry out. Dev Anand is a gallant gentlemen, and even though they are alone and unmarried, unlike most other Hindi Movies, no hanky-panky happens ;). A soothing gentle romantic song, typical of several Dev Anand numbers.

7) Sau Saal Pehle --- Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
Another Dev-Asha pairing, and another great romantic song, Dev wears a classic checked jacket.  A legitimate debate would be which is the best song in this Nasir Hussein entertainer, perhaps "Yeh Ankhen UffYuMa". An even better debate would be whether Asha's checked outfit in "Yeh Akhen UffYuMa" would suit Dev Anand ;)

6) Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni Phir Kahaan --- Jaal
Could this sweater be a precursor to current preppy diamond/argyle fashions, Dev Anand's attire cannot be faulted by "How To Look Preppy". To top it all, apparently he plays a smuggler in this Guru Dutt directed movie. Perhaps Al Capone should have consulted Dev Anand on what "The Well Dressed Smuggler is Wearing". (Full Marks to those who recognize this line is adapted from B. Wooster's "What the Well Dressed Gentleman is Wearing".)

5) Dekh Hame Awaaz Na Dena --- Amardeep
Yes that is a checked scarf being used by Dev Anand to flirt with Vyjanthimala. Dev elevated wearing mufflers to an art form. Needless to say, another great romantic song.

4) Likha Hai Teri Ankhon Mein --- Teen Devian
There can be no confusion here, definitely a checked scarf/muffler. Dev Anand simultaneously romances three women in this movie, perhaps wearing this checked muffler is the clue to his real preference.

3) Mera Man Tera Pyaasa --- Gambler
Dev Anand may be a Gambler straight out of Gambler's er. Gentlemen's Quarterly. That checked shirt is a classic, but how many would dare wear that purple scarf.

2) Nafrat Karne Walon Ke Seene Mein Pyar Bhar Doon --- Johnny Mera Naam
That black muffler blends in with the checked shirt & navy blazer. Add pale blue trousers, and this classic outfit stands the test of time.

Shirt + Cap
1) Aasmaan Ke Neeche --- Jewel Thief
A great two-in-one, cap plus shirt, completes this tongue-in-check tribute.

Monday, February 21, 2011

On President's Day, Remembering Richard Nixon --- 10 Bollywood Songs in the Missing 18.5 Min

One of the most enduring mysteries of Watergate is what was in the "Missing 18 & a half minutes". Recent advances in technology enable us to take an educated guess about those highly controversial contents. It is quite likely they were Bollywood songs, although it is not known how they got there.  Maybe President Nixon liked to listen to all kinds of music. Perhaps this is what those bugs in the Democratic party HQ in Watergate recorded. 

I think someone was trying to associate events in President Nixon's life with songs from Bollywood, and here are 10 possibilities.

Event :- The so-called "last press conference" of Richard Nixon took place on November 7, 1962 following his loss to Democratic incumbent Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Appearing before 100 reporters, an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."[

Linkage :- Keying  on "Last Press Conference", implying leaving politics; the song means I am forever leaving this gathering. 

9) Hippies/Flower Power/Drugs/Vietnam-Oppn ---
    Dum Maaro Dum

Event :- The hippie movement encompassing sex, drugs, rock & roll, freedoms,  distinct appearances, Vietnam War protests, counterculture.

Linkage :- The song "Take Another Toke" is from the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna, depicting the hippies lifestyle in Kathmandu Nepal.

8) Moon Landings --- 

Event :-  The first successful man-on-moon mission (Apollo 11) occurred during President Nixon's  first term. Apollo 13, the third mission, developed a crippling failure and was unable to land on the moon, and there were serious doubts about its safe return.

Linkage :- President Nixon was supposed to have prepared two speeches, one for a successful return, and the other in case of a tragedy. The song ("The Moon appeared but you did not") could be used instead of the 2nd speech, 

Event :- As the title suggest, this is the Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Linkage :- If you do not believe Jeetendra as an environmentalist, try President Nixon as the one who signed into law the creation of the EPA.

Event :-  President Nixon met with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and did not believe her assertion that she would not invade Pakistan; he did not trust her and once referred to her as an "old witch".

Linkage :- President Nixon in one of his best "Tricky Dick" avatars, claiming he did not seek any troubles or breaks in relationship with India. Song translation is "I did not seek a breakup".

Event :- The Nixon Shock was a series of economic measures taken by President Nixon in 1971 including unilaterally canceling the direct convertibility of the US $ to gold that essentially ended the existing Bretton Woods  system of international financial exchange.

Linkage :- Perhaps President Nixon later regretted eliminating US $ to Gold convertibility, hence the song lines "I learnt your value too late, I made a mistake, please do not get angry." (Sona means Gold).

4) Nixon To China ---
   Tumne Pukara Aur Hum Chale Aaye

Event :- President Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the USA and China. It marked the first time a U.S. President had visited China, who at that time considered the U.S. one of its staunchest foes. This is arguably President Nixon's greatest foreign policy achievement, worthy of current President Obama's "We do big things".

Linkage :- As the song says "You called & I came", is an uncharacteristically humble President Nixon.

3) Spiro Agnew ---
    Do Diwane Dil Ke .... Chale Hai Chale Hai Chale Hai Sasural

Event :- Charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery & conspiracy were leveled against Spiro Agnew, President Nixon's Vice President. He was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge of income tax evasion, and in exchange had to resign the Vice Presidency.

Linkage :- President Nixon was also getting embroiled in his own possibly criminal scandal, Watergate; and must have thought about prison terms for himself & his Vice President. The song implies "Two crazy people going to their father-in-law (jail)".

2) I am not a crook --- 
   Mujhe Duniyawaalon Sharabi Na Samjho

Event :- President Nixon's infamous press conference where he claims innocence re: the Watergate Scandal.

Linkage :- As the song from the movie "Leader" says "People should not consider me a drunkard, since I do not really drink on my own, but have been plied by others."; perhaps President Nixon was trying to claim others made him do it.

1) Deep Throat --- 
    Gumnaam Hai Koi

Event :- Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post in 1972 about the involvement of President Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. His identity remained undisclosed for nearly thirty one years after the scandal.

Linkage :- As the song says "Someone is Unknown", truly summing up Deep Throat's role in Watergate.

a) Missing Richard Nixon --- Paul Krugman of New York Times
b) All The President's Men --- Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
c) The Movie All The President's Men
d) The Final Days --- Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
e) The Movie "Dick". An excellent satire on Watergate, suggested by Ava.
f) Wikipedia
g) The Washington Post

(Disclaimer --- The above piece is entirely fictional re: Bollywood song associations, and is intended to be a satire. However, on the slim chance that President Nixon appreciated Bollywood Music; we welcome him to our fraternity.)